Has Cell Service Improved, Or Have Customers Been Beaten Into Submission?

from the we-heart-customers dept

A new report shows that US mobile operators' churn (the measurement of how many subscribers leave each month) is somewhere around 1.8%, following a steady decline from about 2.8% five years ago. This is despite the popularity of number portability, which removed a major barrier to customers switching carriers, though the increasing lengths of contracts they foist on consumers erects one in its place. So why is churn so low, and why does it continue to drop? Carriers would point to statistics showing a decreasing number of consumer complaints, and say they're doing a better job of taking care of their customers. But these stats are hardly conclusive, and anecdotal evidence would say that while prices have dropped and networks have improved over the last several years, customer service hasn't kept pace. What seems more possible, if not more likely, is that consumers have danced around between different carriers, and while they don't have a lot of intrinsic loyalty, their experience tells them that the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side when it comes to customer service.
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  1. identicon
    Rick, 23 May 2006 @ 2:16pm

    2 year contracts! UGH!

    Yea, I submitted and signed a 2 year agreement with Sprint about 6 months ago - got a free phone for it, so it seemed ok. I snagged the Fair and Flexible plan with 400 minutes for $34.99 a month. I was happy.

    Recently, they started advertising free minutes after 7pm on ANY Fair and Flexible plan. Cool, I was even happier. Then I got my bill...

    I was using my 'free' 7-9pm Fair and Flexible minutes - and I was charged for every one of them!

    I called called Sprint, sat on hold for over 90 minutes after taking 10 minutes to navigate the voice prompt system just trying to SPEAK to someone. The someone I got was in India I think, their english was TERRIBLE, and they could barely understand me, let alone me figure out what they were saying - I have no accent at all! I hung up.

    I emailed them and was told my plan does not include 7pm minutes, I would need to sign up for the $39.99 plan to get the free 7pm minutes. I would also ned to sign another 2 year agreement.

    I balked, disputed every solution they offered - another NEW 2 year agreement?! I have to sign a contract in order to get something they say is free with my plan and I have to pay them an extra $5 a month for these FREE minutes? Didn't seem free to me. :(

    After about 6 emails they offered me a 1 year term. a few emails later they removed the contract term requirement from their 'solution' Yet they refused to admit the free minutes were not free and they refused to give my Free and Flexible plan the free minutes, even though they advertise ANY Fair and Flexible plan now has free calls after 7pm.

    I'm still furious, it's false advertising and seems predatory to enslave me to their service in 2 year chunks.

    I hate the way companies get away with this, just because they all do it. I hate the fact I can't use the internet the way I want - I have to use THEIR internet and services. I hate the fact I cannnot download anything to my phoen without paying 2cents a KB - a typical website can cost you $1, $5 or more to just look at a page! Screw video.

    I can't wait for voip and wifi to work their issues out, especially with the latency and availability. I know the telcos and now the cablecos will fight it tooth and nail.

    Their only interest is in themselves and paying for the 20-50 year old POTS and cable lines again, the ones we've paid them for 20 or 30 times now.

    Capitalism has it's downfalls, this is one of them. I'm thinking it's time to begin endorsing nationalizing things like the wired networks, oil industry and whatnot - the current system is broken and getting worse. It used to be about and FOR us - now it's all about THEM.

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